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I think, therefore I play poker.
Most online poker players start playing only to lose their deposit. In fact a lot of players lose their deposit many times before they start to - think. That's right. Thinking generally happens after players have lost enough money to make the sting of their poor play show painfully on their credit card. "Wow, I lost that much in a month?" Is a common question losers ask themselves.
Notice the title? Winning poker players actually think a lot about their game, away from the table. But it's not play-lose-play, it is think-play-think for winning players. Now by thinking about your game I mean several things.
Reading poker books. There is no shortage of material to read about poker, particularly Texas hold'em poker. It is a rare winning player indeed that has not picked up and read at least several poker books. I started my first poker website because my wife said I was reading them so much, I might as well write some reviews for them.
Watching other players play. These players do not have to be the pros either. There are plenty of good, profitable online players where you can watch them play online. Observe an entire session of their play. Think about why do things, what they may have, and what they might be thinking about their opponents.
Reviewing your own hands through software or forums. Either way you can get some excellent feedback as to how you could have played certain hands better. Reviewing your own hands, rather than playing more is a mental exercise tantamount in sports to practicing before the actual game. If we are in fact playing a skill game, then that lends itself to practicing that skill. If the pros do it, then so can you.
Poker video training and television. Watching TV poker has never been more beneficial, because not only can the actual game be educational, but so can the hosts as they help you through some strategic thinking, since they too are likely skilled players. Also, the mass of poker videos online - even the free content on YouTube can help your game dramatically. Much of the content is from real hands with real players and real money. Being able to replay so much poker content instantly, certainly provides much of the learning for new players to expedite the transition from newbie to profitable play.
All good poker players think and grow, away from the game. There are many times I find a certain hand sticks around in my head for days. Other times, I post certain hands in a poker forum for others to review and comment on. Here are just some recent aspects of my game I have changed due to thinking and sharing about my play.
Bet sizing. Someone in my own poker forum pointed out my pre flop raising was too high. I read, observed, agreed, and then adjusted that.
Turbo tournaments. It was pointed out to me how a solid decision process can make these games profitable, so now I am playing more turbo tournaments.
Bankroll management. How bankroll management should also include training and books (or other) as part of your budget for becoming a profitable player.
Those are just a few, because realistically there is something to learn in almost every hand history file, not just yours but other forum contributors as well. Anyway, those are just some of the ways that I think about poker.
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